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Animal Assisted Therapy 

At Baylor we look to put smiles on our patients faces any way we can. Although providing quality care is our main objective, we are always happy to offer our patients alternative types of treatment that may help them during their recovery. And sometimes, bringing our furry friends to visit (and work with) our patients does just the trick!

The Animal Assisted Therapy program began with one sheltie, Dusty, visiting patients once a week. Since then, the number of Baylor therapy dogs has continued to grow to keep up with the increasing demand for this type of therapy. For some head injury patients, it has been the first thing they respond to when emerging from a coma. For others, being with a dog is what motivates them to attempt to speak when they find it so difficult and frustrating. Others will work their arms and hands that are weak and uncoordinated to pet the dog or throw the ball.

Recruiting Therapy Dogs

Do you enjoy brightening someone's day? Do you have a dog who likes to be loved? Does your dog need a job?

With 88 volunteers and 93 dogs participating, the program is looking to expand in order to visit more sites and reach more patients.

Is your dog a candidate for the program? Requirements include:

  • Must be between the ages of 1 and 9 years
  • Must have completed a formal obedience class
  • Must be tested in the hospital

Owner requirements include:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Be a non-nicotine user
  • Fill out application with references and background checked
  • Attend health clinic with drug and two TB tests
  • Complete orientation
  • Be able to volunteer at least once every 90 days

Locations

Baylor therapy dogs visit patients at:

  • Baylor Heart and Vascular Hospital
  • Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation
  • Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation at Frisco
  • Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation Northwest
  • Baylor University Medical Center - hospice, trauma and transplant units
  • Baylor Scott & White – Carrollton
  • Baylor Cancer Center
  • Baylor Frisco
  • Family Medical Center of North Garland
  • Baylor Scott & White – Garland
  • Baylor Scott & White – Grapevine
  • Baylor Scott & White – Irving
  • Baylor Surgical Hospital at Las Colinas
  • Baylor Scott & White – McKinney
  • The Heart Hospital Baylor Plano
  • Baylor Scott & White – Waxahachie

For more information on this program, please contact program coordinator Linda Marler at 214.536.3151, lindama@baylorhealth.edu.